A revealing album about love and other drugs.
A few years ago, one of my closest friends took a girl on a date to the movies. Dude’s a bit out of the loop on pop culture, and took this girl to see Brokeback Mountain based entirely on the fact that a lot of people were talking about it. There was no second date. Last month, he watched the latest Anne Hathaway dramedy with his new boyfriend and couldn’t stop raving about it. Like most people, he likes a good love story, and there’s no shortage of songs dealing with love on Perfume Genius’s latest album, Put Your Back N 2 It. These are gay love songs, but if you’ve found this piece of webspace, chances are that shouldn’t bother you.
Put Your Back N 2 It is a relatively simple affair. The longest song on the album clocks in at three and a half minutes, most of the songs feature simple compositions, and Mike Hadreas could conceivably go on tour with a piano and a drum kit. Hadreas knows how to work with this space, though, with both his music and lyrics offering up enough imagery to alternately haunt and comfort while remaining understated. The title track is a better Sufjan Stevens song than Stevens has been able to come up with, and Hadreas sells the line “Let me be the one to turn you on” in an emotive way that doesn’t seem possible when read on the page. (As his bio notes, “(The song) is also about gay sex.”)
That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement. The production is overly simple, to the point that I’m surprised there’s no tape hiss on here. Also, some of these songs feel more like ideas rather than whole compositions. Still, though, this might be the first album I’ve ever heard that shows gay love in an interesting and mature light.